Face (in) the Mirror
       (y)our eyes don't see (y)our face



About Face (in) the Mirror

  “[W]ir sehen uns mit der Tatsache konfrontiert, dass das was wir selbst sind, für uns in wesentlicher Hinsicht verborgen ist und verborgen bleilbt.  Ein Bild seiner selbst, vor allem seines Äusseren zu geben, heibt ja vor allem zu wissen, wie erscheine ich den Andern und hiervon gewissheit zu haben, überschreitet unser Vermögen.“ (Baumeister, 2000: 219)  

Our eyes don’t see our face.
Our face stays hidden from our eyes.  

Because of this blind spot, our face can only be seen indirectly, through representations. But, when we say, “ that’s me in the mirror”, “… in the photo”, etc., it is suggests that we are looking at an original or at ourselves from an external perspective.  

The enjoyment of a movie comes at the cost of forgetting that it is merely an audiovisual projection. Likewise, for the illusion of seeing your own face (in front of you) you need to ignore that it is a mere representation. The benefit here is not only enjoyment, but more the possibility to create -once more- a representation, a mental image of your face ( an identity?), which is essentially learning.  

 Thus, when our unseen face is reflected, for example in the mirror, this mirror-reflection is then casted in an image or representation in our minds. Because of this indirect, interpretative route, the resulting image can only be similar to its original. But since our self-image is based on a multitude of external representations and feedback, subject to a range of influences (personal, societal, environmental, …), the similarity of this social construction with ‘reality’ is further compromised.

In contrast to ‘traditional role-defined-identity’, our post-modern, global and urban society also a variety of societal factors makes the construction of the self-images as an identity complex and even problematic: an identity-crisis in which the search for identity became identical to the search for meaning (Castells, 1997: 3, 6):  

In response it is for Castells one option to identify with social groups and logic of conflict (Castells, 1997: 3, 6). The alternative option, Castells calls this the project identity, seeks to transform this crisis. Instead of a ‘colonial’ and discriminative approach towards the other, this alternative rather suggests a ‘comparative consciousness’, characterized by interaction and participation (Nader, 1972).  

Face(in)theMirror will be introduced and contextualized as an example of such an approach in which identity-building can be attained, not by excluding others, but by including particular self-phenomena (cast shadow, mirror-image, imagined self,…) to de- and reconstruct the self-image. As an instrument to promote cultural expression, identity and diversity, the project also serves as a case for illustrating the potential role (or identity) of art and philosophy education in this contemporary society. 

Shadows of a same object superimposed -1-(photo N.Hoedekie)

Shadows of a same object -gradually- superimposed illustrating the "level of completeness" (photo N.Hoedekie)